Concern has been expressed in Clare that the post-lockdown opening of society doesn’t go far enough.
Thousands of workers across the country will return to work tomorrow for the first time in six weeks, but some publicans fear they’ll be waiting for several months yet.
From tomorrow, retail and most other services will be allowed to re-open, while restaurants and pubs that serve food can open for indoor dining from Friday.
Golf courses, cinemas and places of worship can also open this week.
People will have to remain within their counties until December 18th, at which point those restrictions will ease.
A maximum of three households will be allowed to gather for Christmas between the 18th of December and January 6th.
Wet pubs are staying closed though, which has prompted Clare’s Independent TD raising concern about one sector being singled out over others.
Michael McNamara has pointed to the view that keeping pubs closed will result in a surge in house parties and he believes the broader issue of how we live with COVID needs to be examined.
Clare’s Fianna Fáil TD agrees that pubs should be allowed to open with restrictions, saying that allowing socialising in a controlled setting is the preferred option to people gathering in homes.
Cathal Crowe says there should be a greater emphasis on personal responsibility and increased enforcement, but he insists the country can’t sustain another level five lockdown in the new year.
An Ennis hotelier has echoed the sentiment that without intercounty travel, the hospitality sector is unlikely to see any significant boost in trade over the coming weeks.
Owner of the Templegate Hotel, Paul Madden says any escalation in restrictions in the new year will effectively close their business once again.
The Chair of Clare VFI now fears wet pubs won’t be able to re-open until March at the earliest.
Darragh McAllister says the industry is being crippled by unfair measures, claiming there’s no evidence to suggest the industry is solely responsible for a surge in cases.
The Ennis publican doesn’t expect to re-open early in the new year and he’s concerned current supports won’t be enough to keep businesses going.